Top 10 Architecture Trends for Home Design

Is your house ready for the future?

Tomorrow's homes are on the drawing board and the trends aim to help the planet. New materials and new technologies are reshaping the way we build. Floor plans are also changing to accommodate the changing patterns of our lives. And yet, many architects and designers are also drawing upon ancient materials and building techniques. So, what will the homes of the future look like? Watch for these important home design trends.

Breezeway at Quinta Mazatlan, the 1935 Spanish Revival style adobe mansion in McAllen, Texas
Breezeway at Quinta Mazatlan, the 1935 Spanish Revival style adobe mansion in McAllen, Texas. Photo by Carol M. Highsmith Buyenlarge / Archive Photos / Getty Images

Perhaps the most exciting and important trend in home design is the increased sensitivity to the environment. Architects and engineers are taking a new look at organic architecture and the ancient building techniques that used simple, bio-degradable materials—like adobe. Far from primitive, today's "earth houses" are proving comfortable, economical, and rustically beautiful. As shown here in the Quinta Mazatlan, elegant interiors can be achieved even if a house is built with dirt and stone. More »

Huf Haus home in China, residential high-rises in background, wooden patio in foreground
Prefabricated modern home in Qingdao, China, by the German manufacturer Huf Haus, in the Bauhaus tradition. Press Image courtesy HUF HAUS GmbH u. Co KG

Factory-made prefabricated homes have come a long way from flimsy trailer park dwellings. Trend-setting architects and builders are using modular building materials to create bold new designs with lots of glass, steel, and real wood. Prefabricated, manufactured and modular housing comes in all shapes and styles, from steamlined Bauhaus to undulating organic forms. More »

Industrial, open look of interior space - high ceilings, interior column, wall of windows
Industrial, open look of interior space - high ceilings, interior column, wall of windows. Photo by Charley Gallay / Getty Images for Klein Financial / Getty Images Entertainment / Getty Images

New buildings aren't always entirely new. A desire to protect the environment and to preserve historic architecture is inspiring architects to repurpose, or re-use, older structures. Trend-setting homes of the future may be constructed from the shell of an outdated factory, an empy warehouse, or an abandoned church. Interior spaces in these buildings often have abundant natural light and very high ceilings. More »

Non-toxic Recycled Blue Jean Denim Insulation
Non-Toxic Recycled Blue Jean Denim Insulation. Photo by BanksPhotos/E+/Getty Images

Some buildings can literally make you sick. Architects and home designers are becoming increasingly aware of the ways our health is affected by synthetic materials and the chemical additives used in paints and composition wood products. In 2008 Pritzker Laureate Renzo Piano pulled out all the stops by using a non-toxic insulation product made from recycled blue jeans in his design specs for the California Academy of Sciences. The most innovative homes aren't necessarily the most unusual—but they just might be the homes constructed without relying on plastics, laminates, and fume-producing glues. More »

Townhouses stand near a collapsed structure in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy on November 2, 2012 in Union Beach, New Jersey
Townhouses stand near a collapsed structure in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy on November 2, 2012 in Union Beach, New Jersey. Photo by Michael Loccisano / Getty Images News / Getty Images

Every shelter should be built to withstand the elements, and engineers are making steady progress in developing storm-ready home designs. In areas were hurricanes are prevalent, more and more builders are relying on insulated wall panels constructed of sturdy concrete. More »

06
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Flexible Floor Plans

Designed by students from the Technishe Universitat Darmstadt
To maximize space and flexibility, this solar powered home is arranged in living zones instead of rooms. Designed by students from the Technishe Universitat Darmstadt, this solar home was the winning entry at the Solar Decathlon in Washington, D.C. Photo courtesy Kaye Evans-Lutterodt/Solar Decathlon

Changing lifestyles call for changing living spaces. Tomorrow's homes have sliding doors, pocket doors, and other types of movable partitions that allow flexibility in living arrangements. Pritzker Laureate Shigeru Ban has taken the concept to its extreme, playing with space with his Wall-Less House (1997) and the Naked House (2000). Dedicated living and dining rooms are being replaced by large multi-purpose family areas. In addition, many houses include private "bonus" rooms that can be used for office space or be adapted to a variety of specialized needs. How do you choose the building plan?

An elderly citizen holds onto her crutch
An elderly citizen holds onto her crutch. Photo by Adam Berry / Getty Images News / Getty Images
Forget the spiral staircases, sunken living rooms, and high cabinets. The homes of tomorrow will be easy to move around in, even if you or members of your family have physical limitations. Architects often use the phrase "universal design" to describe these homes because they are comfortable for people of all ages and abilities. Special features such as wide hallways blend seamlessly into the design so that the home does not have the clinical appearance of a hospital or nursing facility. More »
First Lady Laura Bush, wife of President George W. Bush, on the patio of their Crawford, Texas Home
First Lady Laura Bush, wife of President George W. Bush, on the patio of their Crawford, Texas Home. Photo by Rick Wilking / Hulton Archive / Getty Images

An increased interest in eco-friendly architecture is encouraging builders to incorporate outdoor spaces with the overall home design. The yard and garden become a part of the floor plan when sliding glass doors lead to patios and decks. These outdoor "rooms" may even include kitchens with sophisticated sinks and grills. Are these new ideas?  Not really. For human beings, living inside is the new idea. Many architects and designers are turning back the clock to house designs of the past. Look for many more new houses in old clothing—in neighborhoods designed to be more like old-fashioned villages. More »

09
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Abundant Storage

A replica of Elizabeth Taylor's closet with handbags and shoes
A replica of Elizabeth Taylor's closet with handbags and shoes. Photo by Paul Zimmerman / WireImage / Getty Images

Closets were scarce in Victorian times, but over the past century, homeowners have demanded more storage space. Newer homes feature enormous walk-in closets, spacious dressing rooms, and plenty of easy-to-reach built-in cabinets. Garages are also getting bigger to accommodate the ever-popular SUVs and other large vehicles. We've got a lot of stuff, and we don't seem to be getting rid of it anytime soon.

A village with traditional houses by rice paddy fields in Longji, Guangxi province, China
A village with traditional houses by rice paddy fields in Longji, Guangxi province, China. Photo by Lucas Schifres / Getty Images News / Getty Images
Feng Shui, Vástu Shástra, and other Eastern philosophies have been guiding builders since ancient times. Today these principles are gaining respect in the West. You might not immediately see the Eastern influences in the design of your new home. According to believers, however, you will soon begin to feel the positive effects of Eastern ideas on your health, prosperity, and relationships. More »

"The Curated House" by Michael S. Smith

Interior designer Michael S. Smith suggests that design is a series of choices to be "curated." Creating Style, Beauty, and Balance is a continual process, as described in Smith's 2015 book The Curated House by Rizzoli Publishers. What will the homes of the future look like? Will we continue to see Cape Cods, Bungalows, and assorted "McMansions"? Or will tomorrow's houses seem very different from those being built today? Buy on Amazon